Alexa McAneny, Class of 2013

My name is Alexa McAneney and I am a Senior this year at USD.  I am a Biochemistry Major with a Pre-Dental focus.

I grew up in southern Utah and I went to High School in the very small farm town called Parowan. By small I mean that everyone knows everyone, and the thing to do on a Friday night is go to the high school football or basketball game, and most people grew up there and have been there their whole lives. My High School barely had 400 students, 7-12th grade, and I had a graduating class of 60. I graduated with the class of ’09, proud to be a Lady Ram, and I loved where I grew up, but ready to see what else the world had to offer.

The summer before my Senior year of High School I took a tour of USD and fell in love the second I saw the campus. I could not get over how beautiful it was. I applied to USD in the early round of applications. I found out early that I had been accepted, so I only applied to Southern Utah University, in my hometown, as a backup and Utah Valley University with a possible track scholarship.

Growing up in Southern Utah was a challenge because I was a Catholic in a predominantly Mormon culture. It was hard to always be looked at differently and I desired the type of Catholic Community that USD has to offer. I wanted, for once, to not be looked at and treated differently because of my faith. When selecting USD I knew I would have the opportunity to receive a great education and to be a part of a Catholic Community. What I didn’t know was that the extracurricular opportunities and experiences that I have had would help me to grow as a person. My main involvements on campus have been with University Ministry.

As a leader and Student Coordinator for the University Ministry Freshmen Pre-Orientation Retreat I have had the pleasure of welcoming in a part of the new Freshmen class each year, providing them with support for this exciting and scary life transition, and teaching them about all of the ways that they can be involved here at USD. The leaders of my Pre-O have been part of my support system here at USD and I enjoy being able to offer that to our new students.

Another support system and second family that I have had on campus throughout my four years is Founders Chapel Choir. Being with my second family provides me with the opportunity to gain some peace of mind in the middle of a hectic week. Playing and singing at various community and campus events, in addition to weekly mass in Founders Chapel is a wonderful way for me to use my gifts to give back to the Community that has given so much to me. It keeps me grounded.

The other place that I have been most involved on campus is with Community Service Learning and The Center for Awareness Service and Action (CASA). With CSL I am a Site Coordinator at a local elementary school, where I get to tutor a class of 3rd graders every week. With CASA this year I am a Co-Director and I have had the opportunity to plan and MC a Health Equity workshop, as well as the week-long Changemaker Festival that we had on campus a few years ago.

My last involvement on campus, because I don’t feel that I am involved enough already (haha) is with the USD Dental Club. I was the little kid that put her 3 year old sister in the recliner to “play dentist” after my first trip to the dentist, and it is the career goal that I still have today. Being a part of the Dental Club has helped me prepare for the Dental School application process and it has provided me with several unique service opportunities. As the Community Service chair the last two years, I have been able to combine my passions for both community and dentistry.

The person I have become has absolutely been shaped by the many wonderful experiences and opportunities I have been fortunate to have at the University of San Diego. I not only feel that I am receiving an excellent education with Catholic ideals, but also that I have had, and will continue to have, unique experiences and opportunities that have changed/will change the way I see and think about the world. All of my involvements at USD have given me insight to myself as a person, emotionally, spiritually, and academically. My experience at the University of San Diego would not be the same without the community that I have here. It has given me genuine friendships and role models, wonderful opportunities, and unforgettable experiences in a beautiful faith community. Having a community at USD where I feel comfortable has been the key to my growth and success as a leader and a student.

I truly can’t thank each of you enough for helping me achieve my goals and dreams. I would not be able to attend USD without the help that I have received from financial aid. I know that I have not only received an outstanding education, but also the opportunity to have life changing experiences that have prepared me for my life after USD.

So, THANK YOU, and may God Bless you and yours this Christmas.